Date of Award

1980

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

School of Education

Program

Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

George H. Akers

Second Advisor

Elden M. Chalmers

Third Advisor

Robert J. Cruise

Abstract

Problem. Seventh-day Adventists teach that the practice of certain health habits is essential to optimum spiritual nurture. It is commonly known, however, that a number of Seventh-day Adventist church members fail to practice one or more of these habits. This is a matter of crucial concern to dedicated Adventists in general and health- and faith-professionals of the Adventist persuasion in particular. This investigation was undertaken in order to help such Adventists better understand the phenomenon of health-habit practice. It was the purpose of the present study to discover certain relationships that may exist between the practice of health habits on the one hand and personality-motivation variables on the other. It was hypothesized that selected personality and motivation variables are related to behavioral commitment to certain health teachings of Seventh-day Adventists, as evidenced by the practice of correspondent health habits.

Method. Three hundred and twenty-five British Columbia Seventh-day Adventists were chosen by a random method from among 5,280 baptized church members living within 250 miles of the Conference Lodge at Hope, B.C. Each participant was asked to respond to three questionnaires: the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire. A response of 83 percent was secured. The data were gathered in a manner which provided for the anonymity of each participant. Twenty research hypotheses were formulated and tested using canonical-correlation analysis.

Results. Thirteen significant canonical correlations resulted, showing that both personality and motivation are related to behavioral commitment to certain health teachings of Seventh-day Adventists. In all twenty analyses of combinations of personality-motivation variables and combinations of health-habit variables, it was found that two personality factors, one having to do with a person's bent toward either sober-mindedness or surface enthusiasm, and the other having to do with an individual's tendency toward either shyness or social self-confidence, emerged more frequently than any others, suggesting that they are important variables related to health-habit practice. In the same vein, three motivational dynamics, one having to do with a person's total energy investment with respect to the basic motivating drive toward sensuous self-indulgent satisfactions, the second having to do with a person's total energy investment with respect to the basic motivating drive toward the expression of destructive hostile impulses, and the third having to do with an individual's level of need with respect ot meeting the demands of conscience, emerged more frequently than any others, suggesting that they are important variables related to health-habit practice. In the same analyses, health habits of spiritual nurture (personal daily devotions) and caffeine ingestion (coffee, cola beverages, and so forth) emerged more frequently than any others, suggesting that they are important variables related to structure of personality-motivation. In addition to the statistical findings, a number of descriptive findings emerged, notable the fact that 68, 66, 62, and 50 percent of the population under study was not following, respectively, health habits of spiritual nurture (appropriation), supper intake (moderation), vegetarian lifestyle (appropriation), and sweets intake (moderation).

Conclusions. The study's descriptive findings point to the need for a refocusing of health-ministry efforts such that the health-habit practice of church members, and the parallel tenor of their religious experience, might be enhanced. Certain of the study's statistical findings point to the potential identification of a personality-motivation syndrome operating in the corporate life of Adventist health-agonists, those who fail to follow one or more of the health habits being considered. If this "health-agonistic syndrome" can be confirmed, health-ministry programs will need to be developed which will appeal to individuals who manifest the syndrome, individuals who are more happy-go-lucky, shy, comfort-oriented, pugnacious, and somewhat irresponsible. Such programs must, at one and the same time, both accommodate and confront these individuals, appealing in such a way that they effectively encourage healthful living without alienating. Clearly such health packaging and promotion will take prayerful discernment.

Subject Area

Health education.

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